23 May 2015

Radwaste

DECC has engaged external support by convening a Community Representation Working Group (CRWG) to help develop practical processes for how community representation, the test of public support, and community investment will operate throughout the siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The UK government’s commitment in the White Paper includes taking a voluntarist approach based on working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process.

DECC (accessed) 22nd May 2015 read more »

NuLeaf offering to advise local authorities interested in volunteering to enter the geological disposal process.

LGA Magazine 21st May 2015 read more »

Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that David Cameron give her a veto over cutting taxpayer subsidies for wind farms as experts warned MSPs that “over-egging” renewable energy will lead to increased consumer bills and intermittent supply. She said the new UK Government should not change the public funding for onshore wind schemes “without agreement from Scottish ministers” after the Tory election manifesto promised to curb the spread of turbines by stopping any new subsidy. Outlining a list of eight energy demands, she also called for the delivery of more connections from renewable schemes on the Scottish islands and funding for carbon capture and pump storage schemes. But Holyrood’s energy committee heard how Scotland in course to lose 55 per cent of its electricity generating capacity, leaving the country dependent on importing power from south of the border.

Telegraph 21st May 2015 read more »

Chernobyl

Cameras set up by an environmental research project in the Ukrainian side of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone reveal that the area is home to a rich diversity of wildlife. The work is led by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and co-funded by NERC, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Environment Agency and RWM. The overall objective of the Transfer – Exposure – Effects (TREE) project is to help accurate estimation of the risk to wildlife associated with exposure to radioactivity and to develop more realistic safety assessments.

NDA 21st May 2015 read more »

Politics

An MP from the Scottish National Party (SNP) will head up the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, according to reports. The chair position could be filled by Callum McCaig who was earlier this week confirmed as the SNP’s energy representative in Westminster, replacing Mike Weir who has taken up the position of chief whip for the party.

Utility Week 22nd May 2015 read more »

BBC 22nd May 2015 read more »

Magnox

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is concerned with the announcement by Magnox that it will over 1,600 jobs from its workforce at its 12 nuclear reactor sites over the next 15 months. NFLA supports the concerns made by the unions GMB and Unite of the significant impact this will have on the speed with which decommissioning of redundant sites will take, as well as the reduction in available technical skills and the safe management of radioactive waste on these sites.

NFLA 22nd May 2015 read more »

Terror

Islamic State has claimed it is ‘infinitely’ closer to buying a nuclear bomb from Pakistan and smuggling it into the US. An article, apparently penned by British hostage John Cantlie for the terror group’s magazine, Dabiq, says the scenario is ‘more possible today than it was just one year ago’. Cantlie, a photojournalist who has been held captive for more than two years, has appeared in multiple propaganda videos and articles for the extremist group.

Daily Mail 22nd May 2015 read more »

Independent 22nd May 2015 read more »

Telegraph 22nd May 2015 read more »

Proliferation

A month-long review conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty appeared headed for failure on Friday after its members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East and other issues.

Reuters 22nd May 2015 read more »

Trident

Last weekend The Sunday Herald published allegations by a Royal Navy submariner, William McNeilly, of safety and security flaws involving British submarines which carry Trident nuclear missiles. These coincide with concerns recently raised at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York about the ongoing risks of nuclear weapon use, whether deliberate or inadvertent. At this meeting, the UK acknowledged the terrible humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapon use in populated areas, but denied its Trident nuclear arsenal poses any appreciable risk. France also insisted that its nuclear arsenal poses no risk whatsoever. Such views should be questioned, for at least two reasons.One: none of the nuclear-armed states are willing to subject their contemporary nuclear weapon safety and security records to open scrutiny. It is therefore not reasonable for them to insist that their safety claims should be simply accepted—a point McNeilly’s assertions tend to reinforce.Two: recent research indicates that the kinds of problems McNeilly alleges are not only plausible, they are indicative of a wide range of issues in management of the nuclear arsenals of several states, including the UK—some of them very serious. In researching his recent book, Command and Control, investigative journalist Eric Schlosser found literally thousands of nuclear weapon-related safety incidents had occurred historically in the US alone, several of which almost resulted in nuclear detonations. The nuclear-weapon states argue, in effect, that this miracle indicates the effectiveness of their nuclear command and control systems. Common sense indicates quite the opposite. (Schlosser, incidentally, described Britain’s Trident as an accident waiting to happen.) Moreover, the nuclear-weapon states characterize nuclear terrorism as a major risk. In this respect, it’s interesting that McNeilly’s report raises concerns about insider threat as a significant risk to existing nuclear arsenals—unauthorized personnel reaching classified information and technology.

Chatham House 22nd May 2015 read more »

Renewables – Saudi Arabia

So what to make of the statement by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister that the world’s biggest oil exporter could stop using fossil fuels as soon as 2040 and become a “global power” in solar and wind energy? Ali Al-Naimi’s statement is striking as Saudi Arabia’s wealth and influence is entirely founded on its huge oil wealth and the nation has been one of the strongest voices against climate change action at UN summits. the fact that the Saudi’s feel the pressure to make such statements at all feels politically significant in the year that the world has set itself the task of sealing a climate change deal. It also adds to the momentum being delivered by the fast-growing, UN-backed, divestment campaign which argues investors should sell their stocks in fossil fuel companies whose hunger for ever more coal, oil and gas are seen as endangering the climate. Axa, one of the world’s biggest asset managers, announced on Friday that it was selling €500m of coal company stocks, by far the biggest divestment so far. Maybe, just maybe, the dark clouds that have glowered over efforts to tackle global warming for years are starting to disperse and let the sunlight in.

Guardian 22nd May 2015 read more »

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News.

Microgen Scotland 22nd May 2015 read more »

Fossil Fuels

A Barclays-owned gas producer has become the second company to apply to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire. Third Energy submitted an application to North Yorkshire county council yesterday to hydraulically stimulate gas in a shale formation in an existing gasfield in Kirby Misperton, 20 miles west of Scarborough.

Times 23rd May 2015 read more »

FT 22nd May 2015 read more »

Guardian 22nd May 2015 read more »

Axa, one of the world’s largest insurers, has become the first global financial institution to shun investments in coal companies. The French group, which has more than $1tn in assets under management, will sell 500m euros of coal assets between now and the end of the year, its chief executive, Henri de Castries, said at a business and climate change conference in Paris on Friday.

FT 22nd May 2015 read more »

Guardian 22nd May 2015 read more »

Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions. The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century, with his group obtaining a “very, very large segment” of its earnings from renewable power. And in an admission that the growing opposition to Shell’s controversial search for oil in the Arctic was putting increasing pressure on him, van Beurden admitted he had gone on a “personal journey” to just ify the decision to drill.

Guardian 22nd May 2015 read more »

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Published: 23 May 2015